You love your aging parents and you want to see them live safely at home with all the emotional and physical support they need. But let's face reality - being a home-based caregiver can cause a tremendous financial bind if you have to modify of give up your paid employment to play the role.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP there are over 65 million home-based personal caregivers in this country. It’s hard work, demanding huge amounts of time and energy. Do you ever wonder if a family-member can get paid for performing this labor of love?
The answer may be “yes”.
Some long-term care insurance policies provide financial assistance for family caregivers. The Veterans Administration may also offer some help.
But what about someone who isn't eligible for these programs?
Some states have programs through Medicaid called “Cash and Counseling.” Some offer similar programs that provide cash to seniors who need in-home care but are not eligible for Medicaid.
This financial support can be used to pay for a variety of needs, including in-home care - even when that person is not a professional. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state, so check the Medicaid site for information.
If you decide to apply for a cash assistance program, this is what will typically happen:
- The first step is to see if the senior is eligible for Medicaid or another cash assistance program. Be sure to have all bank, tax, and other financial records that show income and assets. This information is used for "means testing" to determine financial eligibility.
- If the senior is found to be eligible for assistance, someone from the program will visit to assess their in-home care needs. That person will speak with you, any other people providing care, and perhaps the doctor about the care being currently provided.
- Based on the assessment, the program determines how many in-home care hours would be approved if a home-health care agency was providing the services. Using that state's standard rate of pay for in-home care workers, it decides on the total amount of money it will pay directly to the senior every month to help with the cost.
- Once the monetary amount is determined, the senior decides who they want to provide the care and how much will be paid from the program's monthly allotment. The amount must be equal to or greater than the minimum wage, but it can be any reasonable amount.
The money does not have to be utilized solely for home care. The program will also help you and your loved one with non-health related caregiver duties such as paperwork and taxes. Many financial assistance programs are available for eligible seniors. Please check with your Area Agency on Aging for additional information about financial assistance.
Click here to read more of our tips for family caregivers.
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